Is Your TV Screen Blurry or Fuzzy? Try These 10 Fixes.
This is the age of crisp ultra-high definition TVs, so why is the picture on your TV so blurry or fuzzy?
You may need a new eyeglass prescription. But if your eyes are okay, you’ll have to troubleshoot to get the best possible image.
Is Your TV Screen Blurry or Fuzzy?
1. Remove Sources of Interference
Some LCD blurring or ghosting problems are due to electrical noise or faulty surge protectors. To eliminate this as a cause, try plugging the TV directly into an outlet without any extension cords or surge suppressors in the circuit. If this solves the problem, try using a different extension.
You should also try unplugging devices on the same circuit as the TV. Any AC powered device, such as a refrigerator, air conditioner, or fan, can cause electrical noise. It’s unlikely that these devices will be connected to the same circuit as your TV’s outlet, but it’s worth checking.
If you have voltage fluctuations coming directly from the mains, a UPS that filters out these surges can be the solution, but you will need the help of an electrician to check the power supply.
2. Is Your Source Low Resolution?
One of the most common causes of motion blur on an LCD flat screen TV (or monitor) is a mismatch between the content’s resolution and the screen’s native resolution.
LCD, Mini-LED, microLED, Plasma, OLED or QD-OLED use different types of technologies to create moving images. However, they have one thing in common – “native” resolution. This refers to the grid of physical pixels (picture elements) of the TV. A 4K UHD TV has a pixel grid of 3840 x 2160 pixels. That’s four times as many pixels as a 1920×1080 Full HD TV. So for every pixel of information in a Full HD picture source, the TV needs to populate four physical pixels with data.
There are various methods to “scale” lower resolution images to higher resolution displays, all with varying levels of success. The transition from FHD to UHD is easy as it involves making groups of four pixels acting as one pixel. Whenever the resolution of the source image is evenly divided by the resolution of the target screen, you will end up with a softer image, but it will still look good.
If the source doesn’t split perfectly into the target, you can end up with an ugly smeared result. Many of the fixes listed below can help fix blurry or fuzzy scaling results.
3. Change Your Upscaling Settings (Or Your Upscaler)
Different TVs and set-top boxes offer different options for scaling lower resolution sources to a higher resolution screen. We can’t be very specific here because different devices and TVs have different names and menu systems. So you better look in the manual or on the internet for anything related to “upscaling” and your devices.
One important piece of advice we can give you is to avoid scaling by the TV itself. High-end TVs may have better upscaling technology, but mid-range and budget TVs generally don’t have the processing power to scale up with good results.
Instead, if you are using a connected device such as a cable box, game console, Android TV, Apple TV, or other similar source, set its output resolution to match your TV’s native resolution. Any scaling will happen on this device before it hits the TV.
4. Change Your Streaming Picture Quality Settings
If you’re watching a streaming source (such as the Netflix or Hulu app on a smart TV), then the fuzzy picture may have nothing to do with your TV, but may be related to bandwidth or quality settings.
Go to the picture settings on your streaming app of choice and set the quality and bandwidth usage options. With some streaming apps (such as Disney Plus), you can choose your preferred quality when watching content. Change the quality setting from automatic to a setting that matches what your TV is designed for.
Keep in mind that your internet connection may simply be too slow to stream at your TV’s clearest quality. It may also take a few seconds for the stream to switch to higher quality mode. At each resolution level, there are also “bitrates” of different quality. So while you can stream (for example) in 4K, if the bitrate is at the lower limit for that resolution, the image may still have blur, fuzziness, or other artifacts.
5. Is the Source Digital or Analog?
HDMI is a digital picture standard that maintains the quality of the original picture without degrading the quality. If you are using an analog source such as a DVD player connected via RCA jacks, there may be significant interference or signal loss depending on several factors.
If at all possible, switch to HDMI. Returning to our DVD player example, some models have an HDMI output and internal converters designed to sharpen DVD content on modern HDTVs.
6. Try a Different HDMI Cable or Port
HDMI is digital and usually works correctly or doesn’t work at all. However, we have seen situations where bad ports or cables can cause snow or other image artifacts. HDMI is designed for a certain level of digital error correction. However, if the level of electrical noise or damage to the cable or port exceeds the threshold, the picture may deteriorate.
One way to fix blurry or fuzzy video is to unplug the HDMI cable or plug it into a different input on your TV to see if there might be something wrong with the cable or port.
7. Change The Sharpness Settings
Virtually all modern HDTVs offer digital sharpness. This is usually listed in the TV settings next to Contrast, Brightness, etc. Use your TV remote control to access these menus, usually by pressing the Menu button first.
Lowering the sharpness level will soften the image. Your sharpening settings may have softened the image so much that the image looks blurry or fuzzy. The answer, of course, is to sharpen until you’re happy with the result.
Increasing the sharpness filter is also an effective way to combat blurring in the original video. However, there is little that can be done before an image becomes too harsh and unattractive.
8. Turn On Blur-Reduction Features
Unlike CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions, all modern flat screen televisions exhibit a type of motion blur known as sample-and-hold motion blur. In addition, low-cost TVs can have a characteristic blurring, as individual pixels change their state too slowly.
Companies such as Samsung and Sony have worked tirelessly to create new panel technologies to address these issues. If you have an older TV, it may not benefit from the fast pixel response that later models can achieve.
As for motion blur caused by flat panel technology’s sample-and-hold, there are two main features you can activate to combat it. The first is motion smoothing, also known as frame interpolation. Different brands of TVs have different names, so you’ll have to look for something related to motion, smoothness, or search the Internet for your TV model with the word “motion smoothing”.
This feature creates new frames from existing frames in the video to ensure smooth motion without blur. This is the often derided “soap opera effect”, but you may prefer the crispness of this mode for some content such as HD sports broadcasts.
The second feature is known as Black Frame Insertion (BFI). This inserts a black border between each frame displayed on the screen. This brings the TV closer to the pulsing CRT display, thus avoiding the blurring caused by sample and hold. However, you have to pay for this with brightness and brightness. Newer TVs don’t suffer as much as older models, but either way, you can enable this feature and decide which image you like best.
9. Turn Off Image Post-processing
Post-processing features are everything the TV does to the image before it is displayed. TV manufacturers have a “secret sauce” of algorithms to help improve the picture, but excessive post-processing can make the picture blurry and washed out.
Turn off as many post-processing effects as you can, following your TV’s instructions, and then experiment with those that provide the best picture without causing excessive blur. Noise reduction can be one of the most important settings to adjust if you see an image with snow or spots.
10. Get a Professional Assessment
If none of the things you’ve tried above seem to fix the fuzzy, blurry picture on your TV, it’s probably time to have a professional TV support technician check your TV. In some cases, simply replacing a relatively inexpensive component is sufficient. But if there is something wrong with the main components of the TV, it is often not worth spending money to replace these main parts. If your TV is still under warranty, you should refrain from having anyone work on it, even if it’s a minor issue. Instead, repair and replace it under warranty.
Is Your TV Screen Blurry or Fuzzy? Try These 10 Fixes
Is Your TV Screen Blurry or Fuzzy? Try These 10 Fixes